Difference between Bone and Cartilage

Bone and Cartilage are the two specialized forms of connective tissues which are composed of cells embedded within an extracellular matrix. Both bone and cartilage play an important role in protecting the internal organs of our body, providing support and surfaces for the muscle attachment.


It is a highly rigid connective tissue that forms the skeleton of vertebrates. They are the type of tissues which comprises of blood vessels and cells. Overall a newborn baby will have around 300 bones and is reduced to 206. The main function of bones are:

  1. Serve as storage of minerals.
  2. Provide structural support.
  3. Protect the internal organs of the body.


It is thin, fibrous, flexible connective tissue, which is mainly found in the external ear, larynx, respiratory tract, and the articulating surface of the joints. These cartilages lack blood vessels, therefore the growth and development of these tissues are slower compared to the other tissues. Altogether there are three different types of cartilages and it includes:

  1. Hyaline cartilage: It serves as a shock absorber and allows the smooth movement of the bones at joints. They are mainly found in the nose, respiratory tract, and joints
  2. Fibrocartilage is found in the knee, and it is tough and inflexible.
  3. Elastic cartilage is found in-ear, epiglottis, and larynx. It is the most flexible cartilage.

Difference between Bone and Cartilage

Bones and cartilage differ by structure, types, and function. The main difference between bone and cartilage are listed below.

 Bones   Cartilage 
Bones are the hard, inelastic and a tough organ that forms part of the vertebral skeleton. Cartilage is a soft, elastic and flexible connective tissue that protects the bone from rubbing against each other.
Bones are of two types: compact or spongy. Cartilage is of three types: Hyaline cartilage, fibrocartilage, and elastic cartilage.
Bone cells are known as osteocytes. Cartilage cells are known as chondrocytes.
Presence of blood vessels. Absence of blood vessels.
The matrix is both organic and inorganic. The matrix is completely organic.
Has deposits of calcium salts. May or may not have deposition of calcium salts.
The bones have a rich blood supply. Lacks blood supply except in few cartilages.
The growth pattern of the bone is bidirectional. The growth pattern of the cartilage is unidirectional.
Presence of calcium phosphate in the matrix. Has no calcium phosphate in the matrix.
Haversian canal system is present. Haversian canal system is absent.
Volkmann canal is present. Volkmann canal is absent.
Protect the body from mechanical damage, provide a framework and shape for the body, helps in the movement of the body, store minerals, and produce both RBC – red blood cells and WBC – white blood cells. Supports the respiratory tract, acts as shock absorbers between weight-bearing bones, maintains the shape and flexibility of fleshy appendages and reduces friction at joints.

Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more about the connective tissues.

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